As AEW rolls into it’s second year as alternative national wrestling promotion in the US, they have managed to build up a number of stars able to carry the show with their matches and promos, entertaining millions every week. Careful booking and great performances have launched people like Hangman Page, Darby Allin and Dr Britt Baker DMD into focal points of AEW Dynamite, complimenting already built stars such as Jon Moxley, Chris Jericho and Kenny Omega. With the show already featuring so much new talent as opposed to when the show started, we look to the future at which stars are poised to take off in AEW’s third year, especially being unopposed on a Wednesday night now NXT have move their TV Show to Tuesday.
These 5 AEW Wrestlers are, in my opinion, going to become the focal point of their respective divisions, and I believe that they will be stars in the promotion for years to come.
The Jude expert from Rio De Janiero signed for AEW after her release by WWE in 2020. Conti worked for the NXT brand for 4 years since 2016, but was released in the mass “Covid cuts” in 2020, and in all honesty showed little in the ring or with her character. There seemed very little hope for the brazillian going forward in the wrestling world. Taynara Conti.
But then, AEW announced a women’s tag team tournament, which gave women from outside of the company a chance to showcase their talents. Conti came in partnering The Dark Order’s Anna Jay, and showed some flecks of promise in her opening matches, beating the team of Nyla Rose and Ariane Andrew (the former Cameron in WWE). They lost in the quarter finals to eventual winners Ivelisse and Diamante.
Taynara Conti later signed full time with the company, joining the evil cult stable The Dark Order, and she came across leaps and bounds in the coming months. She had great matches against the likes of Thunder Rosa and Nyla Rose, showing remarkable improvement which shed doubts on the WWE performance centres ability to get the most out of all of their talent. This culminated in a AEW Women’s world title match against Hikaru Shida on April 21, 2021, with Conti narrowly losing a competitive match which was one of the best women’s bouts so far in AEW’s short life span.
2021 and beyond has set Conti up for a big run in the women’s division, with it only being a matter of time before she clams women’s gold. Other women like Britt Baker stand in her up the pecking order, but the one they call “Shibata Shakira” due to her latino roots and brutal Judo based style will surely pull through and become what nobody thought she would.
“Platinum” Max Caster was signed from MLW to be part of a new tag team envision by Tony Khan, called “The Acclaimed”. Whilst the team has yet to flourish in AEW, the self proclaimed “Platinum Max” has shone in singles bouts, including a performance in the AEW Face of the Revolution ladder match at AEW Revolution.
In ring, Max is solid, and at only 31 is destined to improve as his hours in ring build. However, like fellow MLW Alumni Maxwell Jacob Friedman, Caster really shines when he’s handed a live microphone. Caster styles himself a rapper, performing diss tracks before big matches which he posts to Youtube, and also rapping his way to the ring before every match, spouting topical insults and brags about himself greatly. Lines such as “Flatten out your chest like Lola Bunny” and “Light you up like Lady Gaga’s dog walker” referenced news stories at the time which also added to his character.
Max Caster has a long way to go before he’s at the level of the likes of Jon Moxley or Cody Rhodes, but once it all clicks the sky is the limit for one half of the Accliamed.
Anthony Bowens is okay too, I guess
As one half of the future and should be AEW Tag team Champions, Best Friends, Trent has been a workhorse in AEW since the company was founded. The Best Friends were one of the first tag teams signed by Tony Khan in 2019, and have been ever present in the tag team scene ever since. Their title matches again FTR and the Young Bucks brought them painstakingly close to achieving their first ever piece of gold as a team. While Trent has recently been sidelined with torn pectoral muscle, he has had some of the most matches in the whole company, having the 4th most wins in the company last year alone.
While heavily used as a tag team wrestler, Trent has really shone in single bouts against Kenny Omega and Jon Moxley, among others. His athleticism and great selling make him an exciting talent to watch, and once the Best Friends taste gold, lose it and eventually go their seperate ways in the impending fued over Custody of Orange Cassidy and the Alien Kris Statlander, he will be catapulted into the main event, with I’m sure opportunities to battle for the AEW World Heavyweight and TNT titles.